Oh Say, Can You See?
Do you see it? It's a new era. Americans are now positioned to learn what comes on the other side of this comma in American history. The weariness of the election cycle still lingers. While many celebrate the newness of the incoming administration, many others are lamenting the new dawn of change. My candidate did not win the 2016 election, and I cannot say that those wounds have healed. But I am someone that believes in the political process and remain hopeful that the future will not be bleak, despite some of the rhetorical overtones that I heard in the inaugural address.
Despite it all, I have resigned to stay positive and active. While there are moments when I feel like curling into a ball and hiding for the next four years, I realize there is no productivity under the covers. So in the interest of speaking out, even if no one is reading and even if no one cares, here are my unsolicited thoughts on things.
I want the new administration to get real about what's going on. The country has been shattered into one million pieces. There's no point in denying there is a vast divide, but there is even less a point in pointing the finger and who or what caused the situation. The quicker that the people in power take stock of this fundamental fact without feeling the need to assess blame, and then take measurable steps to address the issue, the better we will all be. There is power in truth and weakness in denying it.
In addition, it makes good sense for the new administration to focus more on facts and less on fiction. Waging war with the media is a losing battle. Moreover, censorship is not only illegal, but it's tacky. The sooner the new administration stops trying to "manage the message" and instead gives the media something real to report, the quicker we can stop reading reports about crowd size (an obvious Napoleon-esque concept) and sketch comedy bits (last time I checked parodies are protected by the First Amendment....I'm just saying).
Also, despite my own political leanings, I want the new administration to succeed. And not because I am a fan - I am not - but because I am American and the success of America affects me. If the new administration succeeds in foreign diplomacy, I believe the safer I - and all of us - will be. I care that the new administration reacts less and strategizes more. When you don't know what a person is thinking you can't develop a defense against them. I have to believe that being thin-skinned is a weakness that foreign and domestic enemies will capitalize on. Having a stepson in the U.S. Navy, I surely would hate to see him enter a situation that could have been avoided if cooler heads would have won the day.
Further, maintaining positive relationships with our current allies will only bode well for our markets. Healthy markets mean that I - and surely my parents - will be able to retire comfortably and benefit from our investments.
Lastly, if the new administration can figure out a way to bridge the gap domestically between the police and the black community, that would keep me from being fearful every time my husband drives his car at night, walks to the convenience store or stands in the driveway for that matter. Sadly, I have zero hope that this will happen in the next four years, but if the promise is that this administration represents ALL, then I expect at the very least a measured response in the event of the next inevitable tragedy.
What I have tried to do here is outline my un-emotional response to the shifting tide. Sure, I am disgusted by many things that have been done and said in the interest of gaining power. Of course I see that half of the population voted against their own self-interest and based on personal biases that were played upon by the winner of the election. Certainly I am fearful that our political capital has been weakened by someone who would rather align himself with "yes" men than listen to the real needs of the people. And naturally, as a person of color, I am fearful that there will be no decisions made in the next four years that will positively impact my people.
But despite all of my emotions in this regard, I have to stay hopeful. Hopeful that maybe the gravity of the office - when truly realized - will shift the perspective. Hopeful that we will be able to maintain relative peace with the rest of the world. Hopeful that we can all open our eyes and see what's really happening and be a part of the solution. Hell, I'm just hopeful that the bottom doesn't fall out.
So in the meantime, I will hold onto hope and press on. If there is an action to take, I'll take it. If there is an opinion to give, I'll give it. And if there is an opportunity to help change hearts, I'll be first in line.
Photo Credit: Jakob Owens